not so free tvConsidering a “Free” solution for a patient education program for the TV in your waiting area? Let’s see what it will really cost you.

Typically, all of these “free” options have either very generic programming about diet, lifestyle and fitness, or standard service line content. It is produced to cover a broad spectrum of health topics, and as such, doesn’t give specific information pertaining to the particular offerings of any clinic.

Advertising is the main content on any of the “free” options. Matter of fact, revenue from advertising is the only reason the program is given to you in the first place. They are not concerned with the Outcome of the Health of your patients or relaying valuable information to your Patient at the Point of care. Free systems are a way to deliver pharmaceutical ads to your waiting patients. Period.

How are you paying for this “free” program?

First, let’s point out that although you don’t pay for this “educational” programming with actual dollars, you are trading very valuable, tangible things for the service.

Obviously, you are giving up the opportunity to capitalize on your patients wait time by educating them about all of the various service lines that you offer. Those precious minutes could have been used to inform your patients of upcoming events, specials, awards, community involvement, provider achievements, new products, patient testimonials and more.

You are giving up the chance to differentiate yourself. You could easily have a sophisticated, custom designed program that tells all about you. Instead, you have a canned program showing in your lobby that is laced with advertising for things you don’t offer or care to promote.

Also, you are tacitly giving your endorsement to whatever is showing on the screen, whether it is a health recommendation or a drug advertisement.

Many of these “free” systems will ask you to give a report every month. Of course, this reporting doesn’t benefit you, it just takes your staff’s time. But, it does add value to the company supplying this service.

With this reporting, you are giving up valuable information such as:

• the demographics of your patient base – those people who trust you as their doctor
• how many appointments you schedule
• how many patients you see
• what scripts you write and what drugs you prefer

Most importantly, you are giving up the occasion to tell your story and build your brand.

Rethink the “free” option. Your Practice is classier than that!